|Leading by example
By Katie Landan
After graduating from Grand Rapids Christian High School in 2006, Emily Tuuk wanted something different.
That fall Tuuk attended the University of Michigan, but after her freshman year she felt that something was missing. “It took getting out of a Christian environment to realize I wanted a Christian education,” she explained. Tuuk also missed playing competitive golf.
Tuuk spent much of her childhood on a golf course with her family. While her brother and sister took up different sports, she stayed on the greens. Tuuk recalled passing many summer evenings with her dad at Cascade Hills Country Club. “Golf is relational,” she explained. “Basketball is a team sport, but there isn’t a chance to get in good conversation, whereas in golf you walk down the fairway with playing partners; you spend five hours with those people for an 18-hole round.”
In the fall of 2007, Tuuk transferred to Calvin to pursue a major in business communications and a minor in psychology. Tuuk also made the women’s golf team, something she admitted that was too competitive at U of M. She filled the No. 1 spot in 2007, and this fall Tuuk played No. 2. She reflected on her experience as a student athlete: “The great thing is that you get to see both sides of the school. You get all the benefits of being an athlete and a student.”
Her coach, Jeremy Bergsma, thinks she thrives in her dual role: “She stands out in a number of ways. There are a lot of great student athletes at Calvin, but she balances them especially well.”
As an athlete Tuuk appreciates the team camaraderie and the leadership opportunities, which played out when her coach, Jeremy Bergsma, selected her to attend the annual Gainey Leadership Retreat. “I asked her because she is someone who leads by example,” said Bergsma.
For Tuuk, going on the retreat was practically a family tradition. Her brother, Peter Tuuk ‘06, went on the retreat during his tenure as captain of the men’s swim team, and her sister, Alison Tuuk ‘11, attended the retreat on behalf of the women’s cross country team.
As far as being a student, Tuuk, and the entire women’s golf team excels: the team received MIAA all-academic team. “People have this misconception that being a student athlete will limit their possible outlets or make them too busy,” she explained. “But with planning and the flexibility of Bergsma and coaches in general at Calvin, it’s very doable, and after it’s all said and done student athletes will notice that their schoolwork was a higher level.”
Tuuk looks forward to Calvin women’s golf improving next year. “There is a lot of potential for women’s golf at Calvin,” she said. “If we can get committed female golfers we can move up in the conference standings.”
Bergsma admits that many students are wary about trying out for the team because of the short season and condensed time commitment, but he added: “Emily is an example that you can do both, and do it well.”
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